The break-things-into-bits mistake we have been making in education for centuries – happening today with standards

20 Apr

Grant Wiggins about splintering the learning content. This is an important message for all curriculum and instruction designers, but also for each and every teacher. Good teaching is about providing information in student-sized chunks, and making sure the details don’t obscure the whole, the entity we are learning about. Contexts and connections are SO important in meaningful learning!

Granted, and...

In the just-released Math Publisher’s Criteria document on the Common Core Standards, the authors say this about (bad) curricular decision-making:

“’Fragmenting the Standards into individual standards, or individual bits of standards … produces a sum of parts that is decidedly less than the whole’ (Appendix from the K-8 Publishers’ Criteria). Breaking down standards poses a threat to the focus and coherence of the Standards. It is sometimes helpful or necessary to isolate a part of a compound standard for instruction or assessment, but not always, and not at the expense of the Standards as a whole.

“A drive to break the Standards down into ‘microstandards’ risks making the checklist mentality even worse than it is today. Microstandards would also make it easier for microtasks and microlessons to drive out extended tasks and deep learning. Finally, microstandards could allow for micromanagement: Picture teachers and students being held accountable for ever more…

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